Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Hurray! The ten years described as The Decade From Hell by TIME magazine are ending. This is a momentous thing. In fact, I personally am more excited about this second decade of the 21st Century than I ever was about the dawn of 2000 with all its hyped up Y2K fears. Not that a sizable segment of the population isn't trying to sell a doom and gloom vision of the immediate and forseeable future. A good friend of mine, who used to be an optimist, has apparently come under the influence of the right wing torrent of Obama hatred and belief in the decline and fall of the American way of life.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
So, here it comes, 2010, a new year--but is it for you? In the midst of my own campaign to have us consider this impending milestone as the chance to do over The New Millennium that didn't produce the results we hoped for in 2000-2009, I am looking at what I am willing to do to assure that it will indeed be a new year for me.
Most research on the psychology of human behavior seems to agree with one basic point: in order to change our lives, we have to do some new things in new ways.
And sometimes we can shake up our imaginations by choosing to do new things that may not seem profound or life-changing, but merely give us some inkling of a new perspective, maybe even a new paradigm.
And three easy tasks you could set for yourself in three areas of life:
1. Learn something new.
Right now, I am considering salsa lessons, though I haven't made a final decision yet. To find out if I choose this one and accomplish my goal, you'll have to check me out at next year's New Year's Eve party.
2. Travel to some new place.
This doesn't have to be some farflung destination, but can be somewhere fairly close and inexpensive to reach that you just haven't checked out before.
3. Taste something new.
This one's easy for me. Since my release from prison, I have been not only savoring the exquisite pleasure of foods I hadn't had for twelve years, but trying new delights like my current adventure in gourmet olives. And I realized I have never, in my entire life, tasted a luxury food often written about and elevated to almost cult status by gourmands and gourmets: truffles. I have no idea what they taste like, though I know they are related to mushrooms. So my first trip down that culinary path will be a small jar of Truffled Sea Salt from:
This is the company I've recently gotten some of my new favorite olives from, and I love my little spice grinder with a mix called Grains of Desire (who could resist that name?) It consists of black peppercorns, nutmeg, cloves, orange rind, red rose petals (do these taste different than white or yellow roses?), grains of paradise (I'll have to Google that one), and ginseng. Opulence itself and for only $5.75 per 1.3 ounce grinder, which should last months even using it as my substitute for pepper.
So I've just designed a task for myself--to taste one new food every month for the next year. I've already got my eye on Maple Bacon Pretzels as a possible follow-up to my Truffled Sea Salt.
The truffled sea salt is maybe the single most expensive food item I've every purchased, $35.50 for 3.4 ounces. But that seems a small price to pay to join the millionaires and jet setters who discuss the various kinds of summer and winter truffles, and whether they are more effectively dug up by pigs or dogs.
Of course, I could go completely overboard and order one piece of fresh Italian white truffle weighing in at half an ounce for just under $200. But I'll see how I like my first sniff and first particle of the truffled sea salt on my tongue first. And for me to even ever consider spending that much, it had better be in the same class as an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak, delicious French Fries, a fresh baked loaf of Italian or French bread, or dark chocolate covered blueberries in terms of taste sensations. I've never been one to become attached to a food that you have to grow accustomed to after a disappointing first taste just because everyone else says it's wonderful.
And one of the things that is wonderful about today's world is that we don't have to be world travelers to discover all these amazingly diverse foods--they're all just a click away online. And the only downside is you have to be careful not to drool all over your keyboard.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Well, my inspiration for this post came from my coming up with a new strategy for my personal growth and self-awareness, to list three triumphs each day of my life from now on. I've even been putting them on my Facebook page:
And this started me thinking about how many things come in threes for me. One area that stands out is the three ways in which I've most changed since paroling from 12 years of prison and walking out the doors of Folsom a little over a year ago. Some friends have even pointed out to me some of these big changes they've noticed. One friend who has known me over thirty years said what was most noticeable is my dramatically increased level of discipline. This may be largely responsible for my jump in creative production--I am writing more and creating more projects and following through on them more effectively than ever before.
So we have:
Next, and related to that, is preparation. I never used to prepare for anything, going way back to tests in elementary school all the way through my career as a speaker--just thinking about what I was going to say in the moments before walking out onto the stage. I prided myself on my spontaneity and ability to work without notes. An example of this was the huge summit conference in 1967, when Russian premier Kosygin came to talk to President Lyndon Johnson in Glassboro, New Jersey. As the closest location of all six Westinghouse Broadcasting radio stations, we at KYW in Philadelphia were largely responsible for the coverage, though the two top network anchors were handling the actual summit coverage. I was with the press pool in the gym at Glassboro State College. All of a sudden, communications went down in the auditorium, where the actual discussion between the Americans and the Russians was taking place. And, as one of the newest reporters/newsmen on the scene, I had to adlib my way through the next two hours as the technical staff worked on the problem. After this experience, thinking on my feet in any situation was a breeze.
But now I have added more preparation into my work, as exemplified with going over a coaching client's answers to my 110 Questions For 2010 before doing our session, and jotting notes, and even designing some specific tasks and subjects based on those answers. It's new for me, and therefore interesting and fun. So:
And finally, collaboration. I have always been a loner, most writers are. And this has served me well. Solitude has been my friend, and I can't ever remember ever feeling bored or lonely while keeping my own company. But now, after paroling, I find myself enjoy the benefits of enlisting the support and assistance of others. Several entrepreneurs have reached out to me to help with my Internet education, and I am contemplating a whole host of ways to join together in rewarding and profitable ventures with others. So, definitely:
And if I were to add a fourth new skill I've developed since being in prison, actually it was a big help during my incarceration, it would be actually counting my blessings.
My listing of three daily triumphs is part of that process. Of course, years ago, I developed the Joyful and Triumphant Fund, in which every great event in my life would be celebrated with a hundred dollar bill (more on this in my Moneylove Manifesto at http://www.MoneyloveBlog.com). But this has greatly expanded, I am most certainly more immersed in gratitude and appreciation today than earlier in my life. And one of the things I am most grateful for and feel most blessed by are my friendships. Though I don't recommend it as a strategy, prison definitely lets you know who your real friends are.
This area also tends to come in threes for me. At least in terms of three friends who have been there through it all, and with whom I maintain very close contact on a frequent basis. That's Susannah Lippman in New Mexico, Rupa Cousins in Vermont, and Mary Ann Somervill in Florida. Two are former lovers (no, I won't tell you which two, even us men sometimes have to maintain an air of mystery, and you will have to read all my blogs and books, past and future, to find out) and all are today dear and precious friends. I learn from all of them, they are all in some form of healing and extremely aware, and have created interesting and satisfying lifestyles for themselves, and never seem to get older. In fact, they are glowing testimonials to the benefits of being my friend--and attracting them as friends will forever be a shining example of my brilliance and magnificent judgment in choosing and good fortune in having their friendship.
Sorry if I seem too full of myself and self-congratulatory today. I forgot to put on my Gloat Prevention Patch before starting to write this.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
So the funniest line I've heard on the whole Tiger Woods episode was from Jay Leno:
What's the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa Claus? The answer: Santa only has three "Ho"s.
Tiger has done much to prove that golf is not boring, and now he takes this to a new level. Or rather, the media does. After all, he was doing pretty well in keeping it quiet for years, until apparently his wife found out. And now, like clowns pouring out of a tiny car, a procession of bimbos is pouring out, each one more anxious than the last to confess all. C'mon now, this guy makes Casanova look like Mr. Rogers...and he's a champion athlete on top of this.
What amazes me about the whole story is how proudly these assorted cocktail waitresses and such come forth. I mean, I can see one woman being proud to be the mistress of a celebrity, but to come out and say you are one of a dozen or more (do you think, in a pinch, he could name them all?) What is this, pride in numbers?
I do admire the restraint of comedians in not bringing up the comical connotations of "balls" and "clubs", but, after all, how could comic minds resist this one? Pity the poor cartoonists, and since I write gags for several of the best ones, I appreciate their dilemma. This tale is too short-lived as an object of public attention to get out cartoons that require lots of lead time. Most such scandals and tabloid stories don't make it as cartoons, except perhaps in The New Yorker, with a shorter deadline and weekly publication.
And considering that golfers don't have cheerleaders, or get to grab each other's asses on a playing field, or until now did not seem to have groupies, I say it's overdue attention. And considering all the men for whom sexual conquest is only present in vague long term memory bursts from the past, but they still make it out onto the golf course, this must be a very gratifying story. They would probably be singing, "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" if it weren't for disapproving wives or the grown-up uptight children they live with.
And how naive do you have to be to think that Tiger seduced a single one of these women rather than the other way around? A more plausible scenario is something like, "I just love to watch you play, Mr. Woods, and I'm not wearing any underwear." Let's face it, he's perhaps the best at his sport in history, the highest paid athlete ever, good looking, and has a gorgeous wife. Is there one of these women likely to ever again do something to make headlines? Yes, I know, it's sad. But hopefully they had a good time during the event itself.
An athlete engages in a physical activity that feels good..what a shock. Oh yes, he betrayed his wife. Well, she must be feeling pretty satisfied at getting her own back. And she evidently didn't do the "stand by her man looking humiliated while he confessed at a news conference" dance. And think how quickly this could have turned from comedy to tragedy if she had used a gun or chainsaw instead of a golf club. Good for her, she chose an appropriate limited response (our miliary in Iraq and Afghanistan could learn a thing or two). And the man himself has managed it very well by not coming up with excuses, not saying it was all alcohol-related and that he's checking into rehab. He's impressive in his restraint and dignity despite the circumstances. And stay or leave, she is a multimillionaire several times over. I'm sorry, I can think of a few other people in these economic times that might cause me to shed a tear or two.
And at least by sticking with him, his sponsors are not hypocrites, and realize that more people than ever will be wanting to watch him play. On the course and off, I know I'll probably offend some of you by applauding the ultimate swinger.
I know, I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.
So you want more serious topics, life-affirming and motivational in nature, perhaps with specific strategies to improve your life and your bank account? Then check out my www.MoneyloveBlog.com
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Okay, I admit it--cell phones irk me. When I paroled from Folsom State Prison last year, after twelve years of incarceration, one of the first things I noticed was the amazing proliferation of these tiny technical marvels. At first, I was fascinated, being a longtime lover of gadgets. But I noticed what they were doing to the culture. On busses and trains, people use them to avoid making eye contact with fellow passengers (admittedly, sometimes a useful thing). But then I grasped that they used cell phones to avoid making contact with just about everyone, even their closest companions. It is not unusual, as I stroll along the streets of San Francisco, to see couples walking along, holding hands, with the other hand holding the phone next to their ears and talking away. Texting may be worse, since it usually involves using both hands. And I wonder if the large number of people using cell phones in restaurants, while seated across from a member of the opposite sex (or same sex--this is, after all, San Francisco), are talking to their next potential date.
I remember the late, great Dottie Walters, one of the preeminent women speakers and speaker bureau impresarios, really impressing me when I visited her at her office. She was talking on the phone when I walked in. Unlike every other person, CEO or lower, I had ever encountered, she did not wave me to a seat or motion for me to wait a minute or two. She immediately included me in the conversation, saying to the person on the other end something like:
"Jerry Gillies just walked in. Have you read his book, Moneylove?" It quickly became a three-person exchange. I thought this way of dealing with the situation was brilliant--talk about positive multitasking!
Today, however, cell phones are used to shut the live person out, to disconnect from what is going on in the physical world.
This was never more powerfully demonstrated to me than during Thanksgiving. I visited a friend and his family in another California town for two days. Even driving (shades of California First Lady Maria Shriver), my friend Keith was hardly off the phone for a minute. A lot of the calls were from his daughter-in-law, suspicious of his son and asking where he was. Was he meeting the mother of his two-year-old son (I suppose I should call her his "baby mama" to be thoroughly modern) or some of his nefarious friends? And she kept on calling, obviously not believing Keith's response that he didn't know. There were several dozen calls as he and I took a 45 minute drive. He finally shut the phone off, and there were an equal number of voice mail messages when we got back to his house. And there were also calls from Keith's wife wondering where he was, and his son wondering if the daughter-in-law had called, and friends asking for phone numbers of other friends that Keith might have stored in his phone. Never have I felt so smart and lucky to not have a cell phone.
Now I know a cell phone can come in handy in emergencies, or when you are looking for that last piece of directions as you are approaching a friend's home for the first time, or for parents to keep in touch with their kids. But it has created a sort of annoying police state, where everyone feels they have the right to contact everyone else whenever they want, and wherever they happen to be. I thought about all the hours of being able to think quietly by myself, while riding on the BART trains, or walking along interesting streets and roads. I can't think of one instance when I got home and may have had a voice mail message waiting on my landline phone in which I needed to talk to that person or receive that information earlier.
At some point, I probably will have to get a cell phone as I travel more, especially when I am off parole, but I can't say I am looking forward to that day. And very, very few people will have that number, so don't look for it on my blogsites, or on Facebook or Twitter. Like my age, that number is going to be permanently unlisted.
P.S. For more blog posts, focused on prosperity, abundance, and my Moneylove work, check out www.MoneyloveBlog.com
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Every Thanksgiving season I compose a list of the
Ten People I Am Most Grateful To Have Had In My Life In The Past Year.
This year's list was especially easy thanks to the Internet and the new people it has brought into my life, and the old friends who have shown up to reconnect.
Just to mention: There's England's Barry Dunlop, who showed up after Googling me and making contact on Facebook to tell me that Moneylove changed his life, and had a lot to do with his outstanding success in his various Internet businesses. We have been collaborating on several projects.
Tony Busse, who divides his time between Panama and New York, also says he's been greatly influenced by my book and tapes and we have a growing friendship as he continues to demonstrate how well he has adopted my basic prosperity concepts.
Two of my best compliments of the year came from Gerry Robert, Bob Proctor's partner and author of The Millionaire Mindset, one of which was his inscription in the copy of his book he sent:
"Moneylove changed my life! You will change millions more!"
Kevin Delaney, who splits his personality between being the Voiceover Ninja and
the Wealthy Bohemian, has proven himself one of my best and most successful students.
It has been fun becoming friends with Sandra Mann, the beautiful daughter of my old friend from Miami days, Gregg Sanderson--I think she was eight the last time I saw her, and now she has a son approaching that age.
And I am learning a lot from Barry Dunlop's son, Michael, perhaps the most savvy of all the Internet entrepreneurs I have encountered at the mere age of twenty.
The others have pretty much been my friends for a generation, stalwart, loving and supportive even through the prison years. These are Rupa Cousins, Susannah Lippman, Dr. Mary Ann Somervill, and Bonnie Weiss...and I could easily have an expanded list this year with the addition of other good friends Tom Weidlein,Will Porter, Judi Carr, Linda Clair, and my beautiful kahuna friend in Hawaii, Kaleiiliahi. And Rev. Sonya Milton, Dr. Rachel Harris, and I'm sure I could come up with a few more. Whew, I am truly blessed in the friend department!
I indeed have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and it is appropriate that I am considering revising my early book FRIENDS after I do the updated and annotated edition of Moneylove. Perhaps I will focus it on making real friends instead of superficial ones on the social media sites.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
So I've been thinking quite a bit in recent days about the impending arrival of 2010. It somehow seems more significant than the arrival of 2000 and this new millennium did. Of course, I was in prison at that time, which might have something to do with my perception. But I think a lot of millennium plans and dreams and aspirations got sidetracked by the events of 9/11 and what followed.
This got me to thinking that the end of a decade of this millennium would be a good time to regroup, to restart, to create a new beginning for ourselves. I have therefore decided to come out into the world earlier than originally planned, with some assistance and coaching for those who want to use 2010 in this way. It's still being formulated, but it will involve a monthly audio coaching session and strong accountability on the part of participants--I won't want people who just want a shot of motivation, but those who are ready, willing, and able to take action to take a new direction in their lives.
It was also good timing that I did a workshop this past weekend with Dr. Maria Nemeth, author of The Energy Of Money, and a very focused and highly effective coach:
On my prosperity blog, http://www.MoneyloveBlog.com, I did a whole post on that experience, though there's lots more I could have said and quoted, and I am looking forward to including some of her ideas and concepts in my revised, annotated, and updated new edition of Moneylove. Dr. Nemeth talked a lot about physical reality versus metaphysical reality, calling the latter the realm of ideas and dreams. She also said it was always difficult when we approach the border between metaphysical reality and physical reality. And a quote that one can ponder for quite a while:
"A moment of discomfort is a small price to pay for enlightenment."In addition to keeping most of the text of the original for MoneyloveNow!, I will be more than doubling the size of the book, probably in several editions for the online versions. Part of that expansion will be material from current prominent prosperity teachers who have impressed me, and have agreed to extensive interviews, as has Maria Nemeth. My criteria for choosing these people is that they impress me with the quality and relevance of their ideas about money and success in all areas of life, and are not merely regurgitating old maxims, and retelling old stories from previous prosperity masters (myself included). Another criteria is that they see prosperity as more than just financial success. Maria Nemeth talks about the six areas of energy:
And as you get ready to enter the next decade of this new millennium, you might ask yourself which of these areas you would most like to focus on in 2010.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
So I've been thinking about inspiration--both in terms of what and who inspires me, and how others might be inspired by what I say and do in my life. This has been prompted by two events in the past two days.
The most recent is my discovery of a website that I had never even heard of before, but perhaps you already know about:
And all I can say about this website is Wow! Imagine over 500 of the world's greatest thinkers, creators, innovators, expressing their passion in short talks that are entertaining, inspiring, informative, sometimes astounding. Check it out.
It led me to think about the people who have most inspired me in my life, all of whom I've already mentioned on these pages. Ray Bradbury, Norman Cousins, Leo Buscaglia, and others. What did they have in common? Well, one thing I think they all shared was they didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how they could inspire others. No, they spent their time on their passions. Ray spends his time mostly writing and talking about creativity..still as he approaches ninety. Norman spent his time, for many years, as one of the most prominent magazine editors in the world, leading Saturday Review to great honors and influence--and then, after triumphing over his own illness, wrote the bestselling Anatomy Of An Illness and worked hard to get doctors and medical schools to pay attention to the immune system and endorphins and other brain secretions. And Leo, Leo was all about Love, talking about it, laughing about it, living it. I still so vividly remember seeing him talk to large audiences and with just his words producing the effect of having everyone wanting to hug everyone else when he was finished.
No, none of these people worked hard at trying to inspire, their own passion was the seed of their inspiration. Contrast that with some of today's famous motivators who work so hard at trying to come up with the right phrase or quote to inspire their audiences. They aim at inspiring not with their passion and knowledge, but trying to find the inspiration spark to ignite others. I'm sorry folks, it just doesn't work that way, and you can see this so clearly on Ted.com. Think about who has inspired you the most in your life. Do you think this was because they were focused on trying to inspire you, or because you were moved by the passion, excitement, and joy they had in what they were doing and teaching?
The other event that got me to thinking about this was a reminder that I am not completely forgotten in the motivational world despite having vanished for twelve years. I awoke yesterday morning to my daily motivational quote from Nightingale-Conant, and lo and behold, it was me:
"Wealth is not a material gain, but a state of mind."
— Jerry Gillies: Author, Speaker and Radio Personality
— Jerry Gillies: Author, Speaker and Radio Personality
Of course, I haven't been a radio personality for thirty years, and it's an old quote, and NC probably hasn't a clue that I was incarcerated for twelve years, but it still felt good. And has inspired me anew to come up with some more current and even more relevant quotes.
One inspired by my prison adventure:
Freedom Isn't About Wide Open Spaces
It's About A Wide Open Mind
More on this at my prosperity blog at: http://www.MoneyloveBlog.com
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Before going to prison in 1996, I rarely read The New Yorker. Sometimes I browsed the cartoons or the Talk Of The Town feature when I would find a copy in the doctor or dentist's waiting room, but that was it. But a fellow inmate shared his copies with me, and I got hooked. The main reason was that it took me into a sophisticated, elegant--yes, even elite--world far beyond my incarcerated environment. I could escape into art and theatre and dance and satire and in-depth articles about everything from street food in Bangkok to to what J.P. Morgan was really like as the richest man in the world in the early days of the 20th Century.
Thanks to friends such as Jack Canfield, I soon had my own subscription, and it was the one publication I absorbed from front to back each week. My subscription expired just as I was being paroled, and with no one now picking up the cost, I did not renew it, especially since discovering: http://www.newyorker.com/ What a rich and varied website! The first thing I discovered was the weekly 15 minute podcast in the upper lefthand corner, dissecting the political issues of the past week. Then the cartoons, and even some animated versions of New Yorker cartoons. Then, most of the articles from each week's issues, and a huge archive of articles from past issues. You have to be a subscriber to access a few of the articles, but most are offered on the website free of charge. And then there are all the blogs from the top-notch New Yorker writers and reporters...something not available in the magazine itself.
I'm always finding things I wasn't looking for. Like this amazing panoramic photograph of Beijing, which was featured on one of the blogs without any fanfare or announcement.
Check it out, play with the controls at the bottom. And wouldn't you like to see the same thing done with New York, London, Paris?
If you click on the center window it will disappear so you can see the photo fully. Also, if you just watch and wait, it will spin around a full 360 degrees.
It may or may not happen for you, but I find that I feel smarter regularly reading what this magazine and its website has to offer. And not just in the sense of being more intelligent, but smarter in the sense of that old term, "the smart set," meaning the "in" crowd, those in the know, on the leading edge of what's going on in the culture, in the arts, in politics. The only thing missing on the website is the ads, and these too can take you into a whole other world.
Perusing one issue of The New Yorker, I found ads for custom moccasins, Ansel Adams art portfolios, adventure trips to Galapagos with licensed naturalists, uniquely designed jewelry, grandfather clocks, Vermont maple syrup, a sampler of 15 varieties of Maine potatoes, a cashmere watchcap (just $110...quite a bargain for The New Yorker readers), and a video called Kitty Safari that promises cats will love watching its birds, mice, squirrels and other prey (I suppose pacifists and animal rights groups might object to this). In other words, many items you won't find at Target or Walmart. And it doesn't matter that I've never ordered anything from the dozens of ads in each issue, just knowing that stuff is out there gives me a greater sense of the richness of the outside world.
Friday, October 23, 2009
On a pretty regular basis, I come upon new and fascinating websites, some of which open whole new worlds of discovery, some of which are just entertaining, visually appealing, at their highest level of interest and entertainment in those first few moments of discovery.
One of the latter was stumbled upon when I did my monthly Google Search on my name, and came up with:
That one "e" missing from the name brought up a whole new site, and check it out mainly for the 3D visual animation, which is something I'd like to find out more about and eventually use on one of my own sites in some other form. The most pleasure I got from this one was in the finding it and seeing it for the first time. This reminds me of an experience I had in church (and in citing these two examples, I am not trying to make any veiled reference to the ephemeral quality of religion) when making eye contact with an absolutely stunning young woman. She gave me a big smile and nod of recognition so that I would have thought I knew her, but she is not someone you would ever forget once catching even a glimpse. In the hospitality period following the service, she came over to me and introduced herself and we started talking. And disillusion immediately set in. She had an annoying voice and as we were talking, the term, "as dumb as a tree stump" came to mind. But that does not negate those first moments of eye contact and flirtation. And by the way, the message was given on Sunday by Wes Nisker, a fascinating guy who talks about science and spirituality and you should listen to one of his talks (he's also quite funny) at:
And finally, in another serendipitous discovery, I did something I rarely do, watched the Jay Leno interview (I usually just catch his monologue)--It was an interview I wouldn't have thought I would enjoy, with Rainn Wilson, a co-star of The Office. I've never been a big fan of the show, which I admit is well-written and performed, it just isn't my style of comedy. But Rainn is quite interesting and his parents, as he described them, even more so. They were sort of hippies in the 1970s, all living on a houseboat in Seattle. He was exposed to all sorts of spiritual adventures and lifestyles of the unconventional. And he has started a pretty amazing website:
This one can entice you in for hours of curious and fun exploration with its many videos.
While there are some pitfalls to the sheer amounts of material available online, one thing it should have abolished completely is boredom. How can anyone be bored at any age with so much stuff to discover, learn about and learn from, and play with. And I find that, for my own creative health and sanity, I have to do some budgeting of my Internet activity. So many hours spent learning how to do business online and improve and eventually monetize my blogs, so many hours writing the blogs and researching and writing my upcoming books, so many hours checking out sites that offer new and unusual and fun things to watch and listen to, and so many hours trying to find and reconnect with old friends and old fans--to let them know I am back in the world and would like to reunite in some mutually positive way.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
So the inspiration from this comes from Rev. Sonya Milton, the minister of the Unity San Francisco church. Sonya likes to present lessons based on stories and one of the most intriguing and thought provoking ones was her choice this past Sunday. It started out as a simple little tale about a poor man and a scrawny cow, but when you check out the following link, and scroll down to the tale of The Unexpected Guest, you will see it has much great significance, provides much food for thought, and gives each of us a way of examining our own lives to see what might be holding us back from our true potential.
The rest of this won't make much sense if you haven't read the story. But what it is about, and remember the Kabbalah is a mystical tradition which always involves hidden meanings, seems to be to me the fact that we all hold onto things that keep us from having more in our lives. Over many years, I've written about many of these attachments and the importance of letting go of them. Old beliefs, jobs that are not terrible but do keep us from soaring higher, friendships that do not nurture or enrich us, relationships that have some good qualities but do not allow us to come into our own as totally fulfilled human beings. We all have our scrawny cows we are willing to hang onto indefinitely.
In Moneylove and in many seminars over the years, I've used the analogy of the trapeze artist, who in order to grab onto the new trapeze bar must get go of the old bar--holding on just doesn't work. I think a useful exercise is to ponder what scrawny cow or old trapeze bar you are tightly holding, that one thing that would toss you into your own prosperous and majestic future once you let go of it. Life is always about letting go, making room for the future. As my old friend and mentor, Ray Bradbury puts it so eloquently:
"Jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down."
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I am often aware that perhaps the greatest treasure I possess is a small and faithful band of true friends. This is not a new realization. After all, over thirty years ago, I wrote a book, FRIENDS--The Power And Potential Of The Company You Keep. On the jacket of that book, I had these lists:
make you feel good
bring out the best in you
give you a fresh viewpoint
challenge and stimulate you
make you feel alive and energetic
respect and appreciate you
make you think less of yourself
drag you down
manipulate you to their advantage
never level with you
One of the reasons I survived and triumphed over twelve years of incarceration was that I had the love and support of several very special friends. And most of these are mentioned in the acknowledgements for FRIENDS. Five women, in particular, were mainstays of the nurturing energy I got from the outside world while inside those prison walls. One of these, Susannah Lippman, I dedicated that book to. The others,
Rupa Cousins, Rachel Harris, Mary Ann Somervill, and Julie Coopersmith, are all also still very important aspects of my personal friendship wealth. I'm taking a moment here to smile as I pat myself on the back for my exquisite good taste in choosing friends.
In a world where someone can have 300,000 "followers" but not a single real and true friend, the company you keep is significant. In prison, you rarely have the choice of the company you keep. Of necessity, your standards have to be lowered a bit, so when they deliver a new "cellie" who is going to share your 10 x 6 foot living, eating, sleeping, bathroom space, you exult in the fact he is not noticeably psychotic and doesn't have running open sores.
A few friends, of course, dropped by the wayside during my time in prison. Some people just aren't equipped to support someone who has fallen into the quagmire of our justice system, saying basically, "Whoa, I didn't sign up for this when I agreed to be your friend!" There is a popular stereotype or myth in prison that most friends on the outside last at most two to three years before they weary of the one-way nature of the relationship. And I found this to sometimes be the truth of the matter. So the friendships that persist and even grow over a much longer period, despite the fact that the prisoner is not in a position to fully reciprocate, are even more amazing.
I thought about friendship in terms of the late Michael Jackson, much in the news since his passing. The saddest aspect of his life, despite his fame and millions, was that there was not one single person who stood out as a true, enduring friend--someone who was always there for him. A friend of mine was hired by Michael some years ago to be a consultant for him on how to emotionally deal with his great wealth. She was invited to join a two week cruise in the Caribbean on a luxury yacht, the only other passengers being Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, one of his few close friends in the entertainment industry. After one week, Diana Ross left, not being able to take it anymore. My friend stayed, and said the most poignant part of the experience was how very alone this famed, immensely rich young man was--and this was before he experienced his major negative publicity and loss of stature in the world.
So the next time you want to ponder your assets, or count your blessings, just sit down and make a list of the friends you have.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We are all the beneficiaries of a legacy of untold treasure, unlimited wealth and prosperity,
especially in two areas of our lives. One of these is just now receiving widespread attention, the other is a major part of most of our lives--but we may not appreciate the immensity of the gifts to us both represent. I'm talking about our national parks and the Internet. They each, in their own way, give every one of us access to what was, throughout most of human history, the province of the very wealthy or the royal among us.
I was reminded of this watching the premiere of the new film series by Ken Burns, The National Parks, subtitled America's Best Idea. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to travel slowly up and down and across these United States have a sense of its natural beauty and the hugeness of its landscape. But think about this: Up until about 150 years ago, the most beautiful views in all the world were largely reserved for the rich. In other parts of the world, you either had to be very very wealthy or the member of a royal family to own and enjoy the most beautiful and nourishing natural vistas. The creators of this amazing system of natural parks, including naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, felt the most majestic sites of natural beauty should belong to everyone and be preserved forever for the public good. Whenever someone rants about "government control," this is an often overlooked example of how government acted in the interest and to the great benefit of all human beings.
Just imagine what would have happened at Yellowstone and Yosemite or Grand Canyon if unfettered commercial development had occurred. The way this almost ruined Niagara Falls
with different entrepreneurs creating shoddy tourist traps at every overlook inspired some of the early enthusiasm for some way to protect natural beauty for future generations.
Do you want to get a sense of how rich you really are? Visit a national park, or several, and
realize this all belongs to you and your family--forever. Check out this article for more:
And much the same consciousness was present in the people who created and nurtured this amazing phenomenon known as the Internet, and the World Wide Web. (by the way, these two terms describe two different but related entities and are not synonymous--as noted in the following article)
In bygone eras, ordinary people couldn't even own a book--only the wealthy, religious leaders, and members of royalty had unlimited access to the world's knowledge and wisdom. And no matter how rich or powerful and high born you were, you would not have been able to tap more than an infinitesimal fraction of the information more than a billion people can now see and hear and learn every day as they surf the Internet. And despite some efforts to take the free aspect away from this bastion of democracy and freedom, there is a powerful consensus to preserve it for future generations as a tool available for everyone.
The national parks and the Internet--perhaps the two prime examples of democracy in action. Do you really appreciate them? Do you realize how wealthy they really make you? Does just thinking about either put a smile on your face? Maybe Ken Burns can do the Internet as one of his next projects.